Toronto & York Region Labour Council: “No More Cuts, Fund Our Schools” Rally

TORONTO, April 02, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, members of Elementary Teachers of Toronto, OSSTF Toronto, and Toronto Education Worker Local 4400 gather with members of parent advocacy groups, such as Ontario Autism Coalition, and a broad coalition of supporters to protest the Conservative Government's ongoing cuts to publicly-funded education in the Province.

Coming together under the “Fund Our Schools” banner, the rally organized by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council coincides with the vote on the 2024-2025 school budget at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) headquarters at 5050 Yonge Street. Drawing attention to the real cause of the crisis in the schools, the Fund Our Schools campaign. It highlights that since 2018, inflation-adjusted funding had been cut by well over $1200 per student by the Conservative Government.

“We’ve got a Conservative Government who likes to say they’ve spent ‘more than any other government’ on education, but if you look at the real spending being done, it’s simply not true,” said John Weatherup of Toronto Education Workers, adding “If they actually took time to speak with workers in schools, they would know just how bad, just how violent, just how under-resourced things are. To our members, the effects are obvious - it’s hurting workers, and students.”

Statements from workers in the TDSB, which had been collected by the Fund Our Schools campaign, were read aloud to those gathered. These stories revealed a myriad of issues in schools, from lack of support for students with special needs, violence, and overwork. One statement came from a teacher who found themselves longing for the days when "mice infestations were still our biggest problem.”

“Without funding which is geared to the actual student needs, we are left with an education system with too many gaps to fill,” said Helen Victoros, President of Elementary Teachers of Toronto, “We’ve got students who have additional specialized needs, but who see their support workers maybe 30 minutes a week. This means they are being left behind, and other students are not seeing their educational needs met as teachers are forced to try and juggle massive classes with mixed student needs—it just doesn’t work!”

The rally will draw attention to the TDSB budget being voted on inside 5050 Yonge, and highlight that a No-Cuts budget needs to be adopted because staff and student wellness are both in jeopardy in our schools. In spite of the important role that trustees play, the Conservative Government is ultimately responsible for the continued funding cuts to schools.

The Fund Our Schools campaign will continue to operate well past the current budget fight, and will draw attention to the crisis in publicly-funded education and the Conservative MPPs responsible for it.

For more information and media inquiries, please contact:

Jennifer Huang, Executive Assistant, Toronto & York Region Labour Council
Phone: 416-886-4082

About Toronto & York Region Labour Council:

The Toronto & York Region Labour Council represents over 200,000 workers from diverse sectors across the Toronto region . Committed to fighting for economic, social, racial and climate justice, the Council works tirelessly to create a fair and equitable future for all.

About Elementary Teachers of Toronto

The Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) is a Local of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). With over 11,000 members, it is the largest teachers’ Local in Canada.

Toronto Education Workers Local 4400

Toronto Education Workers/Local 4400 is made up of approximately 12,000 Education Workers who primarily work within the Toronto District School Board; Childcare Workers from various Childcare Centres and Caretakers from Viamonde French Board.

Representing over 400 Job Classifications, and over 1,000 Worksites.

OSSTF Toronto

The OSSTF Toronto Teachers' Bargaining Unit represents secondary school teachers in high schools, adult day schools, alternative schools and programs, centrally assigned positions, and summer and night schools in the Toronto District School Board.